Make 2021 Your Year To Start A Business

If work has been lacking or has just plain sucked in recent months, you might be considering starting your own business!

January 2021
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Why 2021 Could Be Your Year To Start A Business

2020 (AKA the pandemic and everything that came with it!) has forced us all to think differently – about how we live and work, where our passions truly lie, and to really consider what’s important to us. 

For many, the big question is ‘“do I actually love and find fulfillment in the work I do every day?”  

Some of us have found ourselves in a position where, for the first time, we have an opportunity to make good on a longheld dream or idea… and make it into a workable reality. 

Could 2021 be your year to launch a new business? 

Victor & Spoils: Why Should I Start A Business? 

Yup, building a small business offers many opportunities – to make some extra cash, flex some creative flair, learn and grow, connect with new people, and build something from scratch. 

While the decision to go it alone shouldn’t be taken lightly, get it right and the rewards can be life-changing. Here are 10 reasons why many people decide to start a business:

  1. Control over their own destiny
  2. To find a better work/life balance
  3. An opportunity to learn about themselves and their strengths
  4. An ability to choose the people they work with 
  5. To take a risk and reap the rewards
  6. A chance to follow their passions and find meaning and purpose
  7. To get things done better and faster than the competition
  8. A chance to give back to their community
  9. An opportunity to build something of their own
  10. To learn a new skill – through different on- and offline tools

Timing It Right: When Should I Start A Business?

Truth be told, there isn’t really a right time to get started. It’s not so much ‘when’ but how prepared you are.

Sure, some people strike it lucky. They jump on a ‘get rich quick scheme’, see financial results quickly, and become an overnight success. It might be their timing, being in the right place, or having the right product or service. But this is very rare.

For most people, becoming an overnight success involves several years of hard work. You have to devote yourself to your business, it will take a lot of sweat equity and sacrifice in the beginning to get it launched.

Starting a business generally takes more of your time than a regular job. If you have a partner or kids be aware that running a business will have an impact on your nearest and dearest too – both emotionally and financially. 

Your financial situation is a key consideration when determining whether to start a business. How much risk can you tolerate? What responsibilities do you have? However, don’t forget that there’s more to starting a business than just earning money. 

Be In It For The Long Haul

Starting a business is a long term game. It takes grit and stamina to see it through the ups and downs in order to succeed. This is why no-one should quit their 9 to 5 job and start a business without giving it some serious consideration.

While it’s natural to feel scared about taking the leap to self-employment, the trade off in terms of happiness, and joy in doing what you love are 100% worth it. And if doing what you love helps bring in some extra cash, well, what are you waiting for?

Starting a business in 2021? Read our Ultimate Startup Checklist first!

Ready To Hit Refresh?

When it comes to your brand and website design, you don't need to struggle or try figure it out on your own.

Let us help you get it right and create a standout brand image you can be proud of.

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Every great domain name has the right domain extension. It’s true! Believe it or not, those 3 or more characters can have a huge impact on how a brand and website are perceived. In fact, they’re equally if not more important than the domain name itself — as goes to show! Here’s what you need to know. 

What is a domain extension?

A domain extension is the last part of a website’s URL — the dot and letters that come after the domain name, such as .com, .org, and .net. Appearing at the end of the protocol (usually HTTP), the subdomain (commonly www), and the domain name, those additional letters become an integral part of the website’s URL. 

Also known as the top-level domain (TLD) in the early days of the Internet, domain extensions helped to classify websites. As we cover in this blog, whilst that’s still true for some domain extensions, it’s less so for others. 

This uncertainty can make it difficult to choose the right domain extension for a business’s website. Choosing the right extension can help establish online presence and connections with target audiences.

Common types of domain extension

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages domain extensions. These are divided into two categories: generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs):

  • Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are the most common domain extensions that are not country-specific. Examples include .com, .org, and .net.
  • Country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) are specific to a particular country or territory. Examples include .ca for Canada, .uk for the United Kingdom, and .au for Australia.
  • Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) are managed by a particular organization or community. Examples include .edu for educational institutions and .gov for government organizations.
  • Infrastructure top-level domains (iTLDs) are used for technical infrastructure purposes. Examples include .arpa, which is used for reverse domain name resolution in the internet's DNS system.
  • Internationalized domain names (IDNs) support accented letters and characters from non-Latin scripts. 

20 popular domain extensions

Every domain extension has its own inherent meaning and purpose, whether that’s general or specific. Here’s a list of 20 popular domain extensions, with a short description of each one:

.com - The most widely used and recognized, it represents"commercial" and is historically used for commercial businesses and organizations.

.org - This stands for "organization" and is generally used by non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and other non-commercial entities.

.net - Short for "network", this is commonly used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), tech companies, and other networking services.

.co - This extension is increasingly seen to represent "company" and is often used as an alternative to .com for commercial businesses.

.edu: Educational institutions such as colleges and universities use this extension.

.info - Representing "information", this is typically used for informational websites and resources.

.me - Originally a ccTLD for Montenegro, this extension is commonly used for personal websites or blogs.

.io - This extension once stood for the “British Indian Ocean Territory” but has been commandeered by tech startups and other tech companies. Input/Output can be written IO.

.biz - Referring to “businesses”, this extension is used for commercial businesses and e-commerce websites.

.tech - Commonly used by technology-related websites, businesses, and organizations.

.shop - Primarily for e-commerce websites and online stores.

.studio - Ideal for businesses and individuals who offer creative services such as photography, music, art, and design.

.agency - Popular with businesses that provide professional services such as marketing, advertising, PR, and consulting.

.photography - Photographers and photography-related businesses used this extension to showcase their work and services.

.art - For artists and art-related businesses to demonstrate their work and services.

.design - Designers and design-related businesses used this extension to showcase their work and services.

.digital - This extension is often used by businesses that operate in the digital space, such as digital marketing, web design, and software development.

.hair - The .hair extension can be used by hair-related businesses such as shampoo companies and hair salons

.xyz - This extension is a generic top-level domain that can be used for any type of website or business. It has been used to create memorable and unique domain names.

.wtf - The .wtf extension is a top-level domain that stands for "what the f***". It’s popular for websites that feature humorous or irreverent content.

How domain extensions help your business

Any chosen domain name has to be paired with a domain extension. Making the right choice is important for two reasons: credibility and SEO. That’s because the domain extension influences how people perceive a website. 

A domain extension helps to signpost traffic to your site. It’s an all-important touchpoint and piece of a brand that is sometimes overlooked. For that reason, it's important to choose a domain name that complements the brand identity. Most importantly, it needs to convey trustworthiness, and relevance. 

Many Internet users will feel safe and familiar with .com, .org, and .net. For example, the .com domain extension is used by nearly half of all websites. This adds instant credibility to a website, making it feel more trustworthy than one with a comparable extension, such as .biz. 

However, when choosing a domain extension, the most important thing to consider is the audience of the website. Whilst having a less common extension won't necessarily impact search engine rankings, it could indirectly impact SEO by making the website less appealing. Location may also come into play here —  especially if the target market is in a particular geographical area. 

4 tips for choosing the right domain extension

Here are 4 tips to help you choose the right domain extension for your website:

  1. Where is your target audience? If your website is targeted at a specific country or region, consider using a country-specific domain extension. This will help your website rank in that country’s search results.
  1. What’s the purpose of your website? The domain extension can help signpost your purpose. If your website is commercial, consider using a .com domain extension. If your website is for a non-profit organization, consider using a .org domain extension.
  1. Does it help to define your brand? Your domain name and extension can help build your brand identity. Consider using a domain extension that fits with your brand image, such as .io for a tech company. 
  1. Will your audience trust the domain extension? Trust is important. Many businesses choose to stick to recognizable domain extensions such as .com, .org, or .net, and avoid using obscure ones that may confuse or alienate their audience.

How domain extensions impact cost

Domain registrars, such as GoDaddy, price extensions differently based on factors like the extension's popularity, typical buyers of the domain, and its age.

While older domains like .com and .net are generally more affordable, you may find your preferred domain name is already taken. At the same time, newer and more specific extensions like .io, .tech, and .earth can be costlier. Ultimately, choosing the right domain extension is an important part of building a strong online presence that reflects your brand and appeals to your audience.

The cost of a domain extension can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the extension itself, the registrar you choose, and any additional services you may require. Here are some general price ranges for domain extensions:

  • Common gTLDs such as .com, .org, and .net typically cost between $10-$15 per year, though some registrars may offer promotional pricing.
  • Country-specific ccTLDs can vary widely in price, with some extensions costing as little as $5 per year, and others costing upwards of $50 per year or more.
  • Newer or less common gTLDs, such as .club, .tech, or .shop, may have varying prices depending on their availability and demand. Prices can range from $10-$50 per year or more.

Premium domain names, which may have highly sought-after keywords or are shorter and easier to remember, can cost significantly more than standard domain names. These prices can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars or more.

It's important to note that pricing also depends on the registrar you choose, so it's a good idea to compare prices and services before making a decision. Additionally, some registrars may offer discounts or promotional pricing for first-time customers or for bulk purchases of domain names.

How to register a domain extension at

Now that you know the basics of domain extensions, and how to choose the right one for your website, you’re ready to register your domain at Here’s how:

  • First, head to the GoDaddy website and search for the domain name you'd like to register. You can do this using the search bar on the homepage.
  • Once you've found the domain name you want, select the extension you'd like to use from the list of available options.
  • Next, click the "Add to Cart" button to proceed with your purchase.
  • You'll be taken to the checkout page, where you'll need to enter your payment information and billing details.
  • After you've completed your payment, GoDaddy will email you with instructions on how to set up your domain.

It’s really that simple! Whether you’re setting up a domain for the first time or switching to a new domain, Khula Design Studio can help bring your brand and website to life with boutique brand identity and web design services. 

Book a call today!

Domain Extensions – What They Are & How To Choose One

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You may have a great idea for a business, a minimum viable product, and the readiness to go to market. But without the right branding, you’ll find it hard to connect your business with your target audiences, differentiate what you do from your competitors, and clearly define your brand identity system — so that it has purpose and consistency.  

With your budget ploughed into research and development, branding might have slipped to the near-bottom of your priority list. But investment now will help you to avoid picking up the pieces later as a result of ineffective short-term marketing strategies. Branding is a long-term investment. And it’s worth making it from day one if you value control and consistency over how your business is presented and perceived at every touchpoint with customers and clients.

What is branding, and why does it matter to your startup?

At its heart, branding is about shaping perceptions, whether that’s clients, customers, or employees. It combines advertising and design to distinguish your organization from its competitors. By translating your position into assets such as visual identity and a website, and actions, like user experience and customer support services, branding can alter perceptions. Assets and actions are a powerful combination that work together to influence stakeholders’ minds. 

Branding is an iterative process and a work in progress that tries to ensure that the assets connected with a particular product or service are distinct and clearly distinguishable. It is the art of differentiating your organization from your competitors, through strategies that enable people to quickly identify who you are, and what you stand for. 

Whilst branding is often seen as the aesthetics of your organization, it also includes the story of your startup, the promise of what your product or service can do, and the value behind it. All of these elements combine to influence how employees, suppliers, and clients (both potential and current) perceive and feel about your organization. Feeling is really important.

Effective branding has the power to convert first impressions to lifelong customer loyalty, with the potential to transform indifference into zealous advocacy for your organization.

How clients and customers feel about your product or service will largely determine how likely they are to opt for your offering over a competitor’s. It’s the key that unlocks the doors of perception. And branding matters to your business for four key reasons:

  • It creates an identity for your business.
  • It helps you present your product or service to the world.
  • It makes your business more memorable.
  • It provides focus for people who work for you.

Think of branding as the vehicle that drives your product or service to where it needs to go to reach your target audiences. Its primary purpose is to positively impact both short and long-term decision-making and create buy-in to your business. It’s like a blueprint for the way your brand is expressed at every touchpoint with stakeholders. 

And that requires clear strategized thinking around who your audience is, what you can offer them, how you can align your brand with their needs, and where and when you can engage them. It’s about communicating with your target audience on their terms, in channels that they are most-likely or most-comfortable to use. 

Understanding your audience requires strategical thinking around a number of key factors in order to present your product or service as the ideal solution for their perceived problem or need. By identifying who your audience is, their personality, their journey and emotional investment, you are then ready to engage and ultimately influence their decision to view your offering as the most suitable one.

The Branding Hierarchy Of Needs

At KHULA Design Studio, the way in which we help you with branding is through our ‘brand hierarchy of needs’, steps for progression which ensure you’re on course for a winning outcome.

It’s these branding fundamentals that give you the firm roots for your brand to grow.

What You Offer

The keystone to building out your brand is your proven offer, product or service. Whether you’re selling handmade textiles, sports therapy, or after school child care, it’s important to consider what you have and what makes it unique. 

That means you’re going to need an oversight of the existing marketplace and where your offering fits in. Getting an informed idea about the shape of the landscape around your particular business and market means you can identify what’s already out there, and how yours is different. What are your potential customers’ current options?

Brand Positioning

It’s also critical to fully understand who it is your brand is connecting with. Only by understanding their pain points and personal preference can you ensure your branding strategy connects with your target audience. 

Clarity on what you offer enables KHULA Design Studio to come alongside you to help design your organization’s image, engineering brand associations that resonate in the minds of your stakeholders and help to shape their perceptions. What makes your brand different?


By ensuring your branding cleanly delivers your key messages, you can successfully define who you are in the minds of all stakeholders. Getting it right, is crucial to your future success.

When it comes to messaging, your brand makes the difference. We can help you to strategize your brand messaging in ways that set you apart from competitors with a powerful verbal identity clarifying your key messaging, and helping current and potential users to understand your brand and buy-in to it.


From colours and shapes to typography and visual elements, all aspects of your visual communication are responsible for delivering your brand’s personality.  

Reinforcing your overall brand strategy and helping you to distinguish your organization from competitors, we offer a variety of design solutions, from brand identity and visual systems, to UX/UI and web design, that embody your brand positioning, messaging, and brand personality.


Building your brand presence is an ongoing process, and it takes time and experience for it to evolve and transform. To help it grow, you need to ensure you’re offering an amazing customer experience at every touchpoint to create a memorable experience, every time. 

Does your branding do justice to your stakeholders' engagement with your business? Conversely, is your customer’s experience aligned with your branding?

Blog, Khula Design Studio, Branding, Brand Strategy, Startup Company, Web Design

Who are you at your best?

There are lots of low-cost strategies you can use to set your branding on the right foot from the get-go. The first one? Make sure you know your brand’s personality. If you’re not able to describe the personality of your brand, then your customers and clients aren’t going to be able to either.

Set the tone for your organization by deciding on the characteristics of your brand, not to impose a set of behavioural rules on your employees, but to establish the traits that underpin your brand values.

This brand personality will be represented in all aspects of your branding, from visual elements like colours, to the copy on your social media channels.

Blog, Khula Design Studio, Branding, Brand Strategy, Startup Company, Web Design

Getting an objective perspective 

The words you probably don’t want to hear: your brand is not for you. However devoted you are to your product and service, your branding needs to connect with potential customers and clients.

It can be difficult for startups to get objective feedback on their branding, especially if you’re a solopreneur, so surveys and client testimonials are a great way to measure the impact of your brand, so that you can check the message is getting out there, and being heard correctly.

It also enables you to highlight the benefits of what you do, ensure people know who you are, and mitigate any confusion surrounding your brand. 

Blog, Khula Design Studio, Branding, Brand Strategy, Startup Company, Web Design

Your brand — in its own words

Which celebrity or public figure does your brand sound like? That’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. Your brand voice needs emotional guidelines, and identifying an actual voice for your product or service is a free and simple way to align those people representing it, from sales representatives to copywriters.

Across all channels, consistency is key if you want to create an authentic brand persona that engages your target audience on a deeper level.

Blog, Khula Design Studio, Branding, Brand Strategy, Startup Company, Web Design

The value of visual consistency

Talking of consistency, effective branding also ensures that all of your touchpoints with customers and clients have a cohesive look and feel. Clear choices over logo, typography and colours will ensure you stay on brand no matter where you’re engaging with clients and customers. The value? 

Consistency builds loyalty and trust in your promise to deliver.  

Building a brand identity system 

When a collection of visual design elements, such as your logo, typography, colours, packaging and messaging come together cohesively, you have a complete visual representation of your brand, or a brand identity system. For any startup, there are three fundamentals you need to consider as a minimum requirement of your branding needs:


  1. Brand strategy ensures you have the right product or service in your market. Do you have the right brand positioning? Competitor and brand audits will enable you to do a gap analysis to build the cornerstone of your brand promise. This research will inform your next two steps: your brand identity. This research sets the tone for every future touchpoint of your brand, from your website to marketing materials. 

  1. Brand identity and your visual system help your brand to leave a recognizable and memorable mark. As one element of this, logos can help you make a powerful first impression and convey your brand message and personality. As they become increasingly recognized, logos become a sign of authenticity and help to build trust. 

  1. A website showcases your product or service to the world. Whether your business is based online or offline, don’t underestimate the importance of a professional website. Not only will most customers instinctively check your website when dealing with you, it will be their go-to for finding your contact details, and add value-added information.  

Affordable branding tailored to your needs

Many startups and solopreneurs have small budgets which get eaten up by research and development, leaving little left over for branding. Startup branding doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. 

At KHULA Design Studio, we’re in the business of helping solopreneurs and startups build their brand through a range of services including brand strategy and design, copywriting, Webflow development, and SEO.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can elevate your brand, get in touch with us today. We’re always happy to talk branding.  

Branding For Startups: Getting The Basics Right

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Powers of perception: the importance of personal branding

If it’s true what they say, you never get a second chance at a first impression. That’s why for new small business owners, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, it’s so important to get your personal branding right. First time. 

It wasn’t always like this. But we’re living in the age of the gig economy. Social media and Google search engine results pages mean that — like it or not — your personal brand is already out there. 

Employers and clients alike are using those tools to screen candidates and suppliers or vendors. Companies are actively encouraging their employees to cultivate personal brands — because it benefits their business too.     

Getting your personal branding right sets you apart from the competition. It can build trust. The big question is: are you in control of your personal brand? You should be. 

After all, you’re your own best ambassador.

Not managing your personal brand, particularly online, means potentially missing out on business. It’s all about perception. 

What is brand perception? 

There’s a simple equation for brand perception: 

Someone’s experience of your brand + their feelings about it + their attitude towards it. 

Whenever someone connects with your brand, the outcome of that equation has the potential to change. Those thoughts and feelings someone has when they interact in a sensory way with your brand can radically alter their perception of it. 

Whatever your business, whatever you’re selling, every little touchpoint in your business matters and creates a holistic customer experience that makes working with you easy, memorable, and enjoyable. 

Big or small, brand perception needs to be at the heart of your marketing strategy. You need your clients or customers to feel the right way about your brand. How you present needs to resonate to build trust, loyalty, and better business.  

What do we mean by ‘personal brand’ and ‘personal branding’?

A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of you as an individual — based on your experience, expertise, competencies, actions and achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.

Personal branding is the strategy used to create your personal brand. The conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of you as an individual by positioning yourself as an authority in your industry, elevating your credibility, and differentiating yourself from the competition, to ultimately advance your career, increase your circle of influence, and have a larger impact.

Why is personal brand perception important to your business?

Over the years, KHULA Design Studio has worked with a host of solo entrepreneurs, early-stage start-ups, and new business owners who’ve previously lost out on business due to poor positioning online. 

Without strong personal branding to back you up, it doesn’t matter how good your skills, knowledge, communication, and sales savvy are — it’s all about brand perception. To manage people’s perceptions takes investment. And sometimes to understand exactly what to invest in, it’s good to look at the weak spots. 

How can you build a better brand perception and experience?

From coaches and consultants, to creatives and contractors, there are a few straightforward improvements you can make today with little or no effort: 

1. Make your profile more presentable 

On a platform like LinkedIn, paying attention to details can go a long way. So replace that low-resolution profile picture, add a nicely designed cover and tidy up that badly-written bio — maybe even spice-up your title to market yourself better. Because first impressions count. Be positive and inviting. Show pride in what you have to offer. 

2. Fix that unprofessional email address

Another quick-fix is your email address. It sounded quirky when you chose it (or a provider auto-generated it based on the one you actually wanted). It’s certainly unique, with those pet names and random numbers. But can anyone actually remember it? And what is it actually saying about your personal brand? Take it a step further and invest in a domain name and Google Workplace (formerly known as Gsuite) account to create your email address.

3. Get your invoices in order

Your invoice is just as much a part of your personal brand as everything else. So when you’re  issuing your client with an invoice, make sure it’s clear. Is it detailed enough? Are your banking details prominent? Do you offer alternative ways to pay?

4. Consistency is key

When engaging with your audience, whether thats in person or online through social media, it is important to always be consistent in how you show up. From messaging, to visuals and personality this will help you stay top of mind with your audience. You can look to others for inspiration however it's important you create your own unique story and brand perception.

5. Make connections, promote yourself then learn, refine and repeat

It's important to be constantly promoting yourself and making connections with your audience and the people in your sphere. Find ways to actively promote yourself through all channels. Gather feedback, learn from others, develop relationships, then refine your personal brand and repeat this over and over until you have a winning formula for building a better brand perception.

When you take some time to invest in a brand identity, creating a unique logo, typeface, and profile picture; when you have clear messaging through your bio, webcopy and titles, and a professional email connected to a domain; when you go as far as creating a professional website or landing page; THEN you’re on the way to creating a better brand perception at multiple touch points — helping you ultimately win more hearts, minds and customers. 

KHULA Design Studio is a purpose-driven design studio built on three core services: branding, copywriting, and web design. We design brand identities with impact, and powerful websites that connect with your audience in a meaningful way.

As a Solopreneur, find out what we can do for your brand perception by scheduling a call with us today.

How To Build A Strong Brand Perception And Presence

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